This week marks the birthday of the British writer Dorothy Sayers . Sayers is mostly known for her mystery novels and her nonfiction books on faith. But the first books she published were volumes of poetry.
Here are five of our favorite poems by Dorothy Sayers …
Catholic Tales and Christian Songs
(Available to download as a FREE Ebook)
The Wizard’s Pupil
*** It was written with red and black ink,
and much of it he could not understand;
but he put his finger on a line and spelled
it through. At once the room was darkened,
and the house trembled.
– OLD FAIRY TALE.
TIME like a sullen school-boy stands
Beside the Wizard’s knee,
The book of life between his hands,
And spells out painfully
The crabbed Christ-cross row,
The Alpha and the O.
His grimy fingers slowly trace
Each odd, repellent sign
In a dull fear to lose the place;
His voice, with listless whine,
Drawls through the scheduled hour
The syllables of power.
While Zeta is so like to Xi
Small thought has he to spare
For what the screed may signify,
(The Wizard in His chair
Smiles, knowing ere He look
All that is in the book).
But sometimes ill and sometimes well,
Reluctant and perplexed,
He gropes and stammers through the spell
From one sound to the next;
And when the last is read
God’s Word wakes the dead.
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IMAGE CREDIT: From the cover of the recent Sayers biography, SUBVERSIVE by Crystal Downing
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com